Our friend, Kevin Cloud

In 2018, CYT EXPO had the amazing privilege of hosting Kevin Cloud as our morning speaker. Good news! He’s still at it and you can invite him to speak at an event near you. You can find more details from him below. We are thankful for your ministry Kevin and we hope you have an incredible speaking agenda in 2020!

Hello! 
My name is Kevin Cloud, I am a pastor and the author of God and Hamilton: Spiritual Themes From the Life of Alexander Hamilton & the Broadway Musical He Inspired. For the last two years I’ve been traveling the country speaking about my book, the power of story, and about the intersection of creativity and faith. I have a passion for communicating about creativity, and would love the opportunity to share with your community. 
I would love to connect and see if any of these topics might be a fit for your community for 2020. You can find more information about me here: www.kevincloud.me

Hey Ho EXPO – Dinner Time!

When you’ve been in workshops and running around in the hot sun all day you need some good food to fuel up! Well get excited – all of our EXPO dinners are being catered this year! From pizza to tacos, burgers to pasta, (don’t forget endless desserts!) get ready for some delicious all-you-can-eat meals!

Welcome Dinner Menu Wednesday, June 26**

Cupid’s Catering – Italian

Tickets to the Welcome Dinner were purchased ahead of time in addition to your Registration to EXPO. These tickets are no longer available.

  • Garden salad with grape tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers; Ranch and Italian Dressing on the side (GF available)
  • Roma Chicken Breast (GF available)
  • Italian Sausage with peppers and onions (GF available)
  • Penne pasta with marinara (GF available)
  • Red potatoes with rosemary (GF available)
  • Zucchini (GF available)
  • Rolls and butter

**Tickets to the Welcome Dinner are no longer available. These should have been purchased in addition to your Registration.

**This night is NOT all-you-can-eat. However, we will serve until the food runs out!

Dinner Menu Thursday, June 27

Urbn Catering – Pizza, Tacos, and Desserts! All you can eat!

All dinners provided by Urbn Catering cost $10/person and are all you can eat! Wrist bands are your ticket to the meal and will be available for purchase in the lobby once you arrive at EXPO. The $10 covers the cost of ALL of the food items listed below! Grab one of everything!

  • Variety of fresh-from-the-oven pizza slices
  • Salad
  • Grilled pollo asado Tacos
  • Carne asada Tacos
  • Nachos
  • Toppings bar
  • Cannolis and cookies
  • Mint infused water, aqua fresca, lemonade

Dinner Menu Friday, June 28

Urbn Catering – Pizza, Burgers, Hot Dogs and Desserts! All you can eat!

All dinners provided by Urbn Catering cost $10/person and are all you can eat! Wrist bands are your ticket to the meal and will be available for purchase in the lobby once you arrive at EXPO. The $10 covers the cost of ALL of the food items listed below! Grab one of everything!

  • Variety of fresh-from-the-oven pizza slices
  • Salad
  • Hot Dogs
  • Smash Burgers – all beef, never frozen!
  • Cheese burgers, carmelized onions, Urbn catering special sauce
  • Chips
  • Cannolis and cookies
  • Mint infused water, aqua fresca, lemonade

Dinner Menu Saturday, June 29

Urbn Catering – Pizza, Sliders and Desserts! All you can eat!

All dinners provided by Urbn Catering cost $10/person and are all you can eat! Wrist bands are your ticket to the meal and will be available for purchase in the lobby once you arrive at EXPO. The $10 covers the cost of ALL of the food items listed below! Grab one of everything!

  • Variety of fresh-from-the-oven pizza slices
  • Salad
  • All beef meatball sliders
  • BBQ pulled pork sliders
  • Vegetarian sliders
  • Chips
  • Cannolis and cookies
  • Mint infused water, aqua fresca, lemonade

Get HYPED for HYPE at EXPO!

HYPE (High School Youth Pursuing Excellence) is the youth leadership group at CYT designed to give high school students opportunities for service, mentorship, and leadership. At EXPO, HYPE students receive additional training, collaborate with other HYPE members from across the country, and grab on to the national vision which they implement in their home Branch. But what do the HYPE students actually do during their workshops at EXPO? Check out the schedule below and get HYPED for HYPE at EXPO!

Wednesday

5:00pm-6:00pm – Student Mixer, hosted by HYPE

Come hang out with Students from across the nation at this mixer hosted by HYPE!

9:45pm-11:00pm – Out of This World Dance Party!

The dress up theme is “Spaced Out”! Think anything related to outer space – Avengers, Star Wars, NASA shirts, metallic everything, space buns, moon boots, etc. Prizes will be awarded for best outfits!

Thursday

1:30pm-2:00pm – Rocket Launch: HYPE goes to EXPO

Rocket Launch your HYPE team as we reconnect as a nation and gear up for an EXPO that is out of this world.

2:00pm-2:40pm – Get into Orbit

Don’t be a planet off in space by yourself! Understand your role in the solar system of HYPE and get the training you need to get into orbit.

2:45pm-4:30pm – Escape: A Black Hole Experiment

Jump into this Escape Room experience as we collaborate and problem solve in teams.

Friday

10:45am-11:45am – Breakouts!

  • Worshipping the God of the Galaxies: Leading Others in Song and Devotion
    • You have the heart to lead your CYT in worship, but what’s next? Join a CYT worship leader and grow in your planning, execution, and technique in leading God’s people in song and study.
  • Defying Gravity: Releasing the Hold of Cliques
    • Cliques happen. How can HYPE be a tool release the hold of cliques in our CYT’s?  Come be a part of the conversation.
  • Navigating the Space Debris of Conflict Resolution
    • Ever struggle with a hard conversation or difficult relationship? Learn how to approach conflict resolution through the lens of a leader.
  • Sun, Moon, or Stars: Becoming the Confident Leader that Helps Others Shine
    • Are you engaging your fellow HYPE members in a way that makes them shine? Evaluate your leadership style and grow in methods that will elevate everyone on your team.

1:30pm-2:00pm – Star Power: A Q&A with AJC

An out of this world, HYPE only, exclusive Q & A with Amanda Jane Cooper!

2:00pm-3:00pm – Cosmic Crisis

Tyler Hutchinson is here to share how God has brought him through personal tragedy and hardship and has provided him with a platform to demonstrate God’s love and plan. Be encouraged and join the conversation as Tyler discusses the role of Social Media in his journey.

3:00pm-4:15pm – A Stronger Force

Round out your EXPO journey in this session as we focus on the values and principles that will make your HYPE an unstoppable force at CYT this coming year.

Interview with Amanda Jane Cooper, our 2019 EXPO Keynote Speaker!

This year, Amanda Jane Cooper will grace the EXPO stage as our Keynote Speaker! Amanda grew up just outside Philadelphia in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. She holds a BFA in Acting/Musical Theatre from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. On July 31st, 2017 she made her Broadway debut starring as Glinda in WICKED. Almost a year and half later, starring as the show’s 15th Anniversary Glinda, she opened NBC’s A Very Wicked Halloween  with “One Short Day” and closed the special with “For Good” alongside Kristin Chenoweth. Taking her final bow at the Gershwin on December 9th, 2018 exactly three years after making her re-debut on tour, she is now one of WICKED’s longest running Glinda’s!

Recently we had the opportunity to interview Amanda to get to know her a little better before EXPO. Read on to learn all about this year’s speaker!


Why are you a performer?
I think there’s such great joy and power in storytelling. It brings me to life when I do it, and when I see how much it does the same for those watching (especially in a story like WICKED), it’s just…it’s a gift. I also love creating like that with a team of unique individuals, coming together to create something beautiful. 

What’s something on your bucket list?
I WANT TO BE IN A HALLMARK/NETLFLIX CHRISTMAS MOVIE. ALL CAPS. Haha, really it’s a dream of mine. I’d also love to see more of the world, create stories across all mediums, and serve in parts of NYC that I haven’t yet.

Photo by JustinPattersonPhotos

What’s something that makes you unique?
I have kooky curly blonde hair that has a mind of its own each day. And personality-wise, hmm, I have a tendency to get into conversations with strangers on the daily, whether it’s on the subway, sidewalk, in a cab – it’s exciting to watch how God works in those moments. I’m reminded that He is constantly pursuing our hearts no matter where we are.

How did you get involved in theater?
I was a really shy kid (like sooo shy!), but auditioned for the 5th grade musical at my public elementary school in Pennsylvania. I got the role of Steamboat Sal (thanks to music teacher Mrs. Messner!) and wore a fancy red dress with feathers in my hair while belting out a jazzy tune – from then on, I was hooked! I’d perform in every musical and play my school offered through middle and high school, and then ended up at Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in Musical Theatre and Acting.

What is your dream role?
Praise God, I just finished playing one of them! Glinda in WICKED. I’d seen the original cast twice in NYC as a teenager and the seed of that dream was planted. I am deeply honored to have played her for close to 4 years of my life, first when I was 22 and then again 5 years later. To get to represent the show as the 15th Anniversary Glinda on Broadway was a dream come true that I didn’t even know I had! It came full circle when I got to perform with original Glinda Kristin Chenoweth and original Elphaba Idina Menzel on NBC for the anniversary special. Pinch me! As for the future, I hope to originate roles on stage and screen. I’d also love to play Little Red Ridinghood (Into the Woods) in a professional production, and Charlotte in The Princess and the Frog if that’s ever adapted for the stage.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Oo la la, Paris please! 

“Wicked” National Tour
Photos by Joan Marcus

What’s the craziest mishap you’ve experienced on stage?
One time as I was descending the Kiamo Ko steps, which are very steep stairs stage right, in my 20 pound bubble dress in one of the final scenes as Glinda, I completely went up on my lines. The only other character on stage at that point is Elphaba who at the time was played by the legendary Jessica Vosk. There was nothing she could do to help me. It’s supposed to be a super urgent entrance but I stood on the steps stuttering for what felt like forever trying to come up with something, ANYTHING to say. I finally blurted out, “they’re just shoes!” (phew) and the show went on. In reality it was probably a 7 second pause, but it sure felt never-ending. #livetheatre 

If you weren’t performing what would you do?
I really enjoy creating experiences of joy and hope for people, so perhaps something in event or wedding or nonprofit or gala coordinating. I love endeavoring to bring a little bit of heaven to earth in whatever I’m doing. I also love audition and acting/singing coaching – it brings me so much joy when I see students gaining confidence and skills! And finding their own unique expression in a piece.

What has been your most memorable audition?
My Jessie audition for Disney. I was filming a Hallmark movie up in Simi Valley, CA when I got the call for the appointment but since I was on set, I couldn’t make it. I called a friend who helped me whip together the fastest self-tape I’ve ever made. I had to film it ASAP so I printed the sides, made a bold ridiculous character choice for a Broadway diva named Susan Channing, threw on my sunglasses and decided to say theatre like “thea-truh”. It was such a fun whirlwind and I ended up getting the job. A good lesson in getting out of my own way and listening to my acting instincts, especially the playful ones!

Triple Threat | Photo by ALN Images

Do you have any pre-show traditions?
Yes! The first thing I do when I get to a theatre is my makeup. I sip on hot water (not tea) and then have physical and vocal warmups that take around 15/20 minutes. I usually listen to some kind of music, most times it’s worship to get my mind and soul aligned to what’s most important. Then I connect with as many people as I can (sometimes there are even pre-show dance parties in dressing rooms). The last thing I do before I enter onstage is pray for the audience and the cast and crew. I recite scripture to myself and thank God, then away we go!

What do you do when you get nervous?
Pray and breathe. Give it to God. 


We can’t wait for Amanda to speak at EXPO! Not only is she our speaker, but she will also be doing a Student Workshop. You won’t want to miss it!

Haven’t registered yet? Don’t worry, it’s not too late. You can still sign up at cyt.org/expo!

Hey Ho EXPO – Meet Eric Treuil

Meet our Morning Devotional Speaker, Eric Treuil!

Eric grew up on the West Bank of New Orleans – but it wasn’t until he was a junior at Nicholls State University, as a theatre major, that he came to full faith in Jesus Christ. His dramatic conversion was catapulted as a result of staring in a play called The Shadow Box which dealt with the subject of death and dying. Shortly after becoming a Christian he helped pioneer a campus ministry called Chi Alpha at the university. Upon graduation he believed that God was calling him to stay and work full time with Chi Alpha. He met a wonderful Panamanian girl (Anabelle Elisa Garcia) – and they were married in 1985. They moved to Lafayette, LA in 1987 to re-pioneer Chi Alpha at the University of Louisiana and served as lead pastors until 2018. They have three adult children: Ana Cristina, Victoria Isabelle, and Benjamin Andrew. Family hobbies include traveling and eating out – they are anti-chain restaurant and enjoy the more ethnic cuisines the most!

Eric & Anabelle currently serve as executive directors of UL Chi Alpha. In addition they oversee the Internship Program (Diversity Project) and all of Chi Alpha in Louisiana and the South Central Area (Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and New Mexico). Eric directs the athletic outreach Cajuns 4 Christ and also serves as Chaplin for the Ragin Cajun Football Team.

Dear CYT, Thank You for Changing My Life

The following story was submitted by Kaitlyn M. from CYT San Diego for the 2019 My CYT Story Competition.


Dear CYT,

I would like to personally thank you for changing my life. In 2016 I auditioned for Annie Jr. at San Diego’s Central County. Little did I know, that would be one of the best decisions I ever made. When I auditioned I met many friendly staff members that signed me in quickly. Tons of kids wished me good luck and told me to not worry. Once I got into the show, I jumped out of bed because I was overwhelmed with joy to go to rehearsal and see my new friends.

Before CYT, I was a shy little girl that wasn’t very confident. But, I soon became a confident, bubbly, and well-rounded little girl. I learned to act, sing, and dance while having the time of my life. The biggest impact that CYT had on me was that I became much closer to God, and it helped me find myself. Though I have only done two CYT shows, I hope to be involved for the rest of my life. I have made many lifelong relationships that mean the world to me. I have noticed that, if I’m being honest, everyone who does CYT is free to be themselves no matter how quirky they may be.

So, thank you CYT for changing my life.


Want to submit your story to the My CYT Story Competition? Deadline is April 1.

DISCLAIMER: Though all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective Branch’s leadership for judging as part of the My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Branch Winner.

My CYT Story: Finding My Path

The following story was submitted by Emily H. from CYT Austin for the 2019 My CYT Story Competition.


Moving to Austin was one of the hardest things I was ever forced to do. I only had two friends, but I loved them and could not bear to leave them, even though I did not see them very often. What I had not realized was that I had been deprived of social interaction. That finally changed when I joined CYT. Prior to moving, I was a singer, but I refrained from performing after moving because I was not sure where to start. While in CYT, I have gained new friends and opportunities to sing on stage again, and I am learning to be more confident.

I have been singing since Kindergarten. I started in a church choir, and I participated in that church’s choir programs until my move to Austin. During that time, I had some classical voice lessons. I learned how to sing both alto and soprano. I also performed solos occasionally, most notably at another church, where I performed solo for two whole songs, something I had not done before. When I moved, I stopped performing, and I became somewhat terrified of it. My confidence and pride in my voice decreased.

Before I moved to Austin, I was shy and socially awkward. I hardly had any friends, and I rarely left the house. I was lonely, and, honestly, I did not realize how much I needed social interaction. When I moved to Austin, I did make one or two friends through my homeschool co-op, but even that was not enough. I found the friends I was looking for when I joined CYT Austin, a theatre group with the kindest and most encouraging people I have ever met, nearly three years after the move. They encourage me to chase my dreams and are there for me when I am upset. I still keep in touch with my old friends, but I have come to usually feel more comfortable with my theatre friends.

CYT came into my life when my mom found out about its performance of Mary Poppins the day of the auditions. She told me to learn the audition song that day so I could be in it. I was scared to do it, but it was honestly the best thing I was ever forced into. I stuttered throughout the song Feed the Birds until the chorus came, which was the part I knew by heart. Little did I know, despite my nervousness, the directors were blown away by my voice. To my great surprise, I got a large applause. At the callbacks, they asked me to read some lines for Mrs. Banks. I acted to the best of my ability, though my shyness may have pulled me back, but I suppose it was good enough because I was cast as the Bird Woman. I still find it rather amusing that I got to sing the very song I auditioned with. Many other CYT performers tell me that it is impressive that I got a named role for my first musical. The Bird Woman is still my favorite role due to this and is one of my greatest prides. Since then, I have also been Arista, Ariel’s sister, in The Little Mermaid, as well as Alice and a part of an Andrew Sisters-like trio in Bye Bye, Birdie!, and I have learned more about dancing and acting in the classes that CYT offers. It has been a miracle that I have had a named role for every show I have been in so far, and I am very thankful.

My confidence has always been an issue because of my anxiety. I am often afraid to speak up because I am afraid that people will find me weird or will not care what I have to say. While that may be true in some settings, I do believe that there is a time and place for everything, which means there is a time for me to speak. Those at CYT have encouraged me to be more comfortable in my own skin and to not be afraid to speak up. I am still learning, but there has been much progress. I am no longer afraid to sing in front of a large audience, and I think that dancing has helped me gain confidence in moving my body; I have even lost weight since starting. Even my appearance has improved. Before CYT, I did not care what others thought of my appearance, so I looked quite lazy. I am so thankful for CYT and for the help I have gained from joining.

I have been so much more optimistic since joining CYT, and my life really has brightened. It feels like my eyes have been opened to new possibilities for my future. I really do think I have “found my path”, so to speak. Many people who have known me since before I started theatre have told me that they noticed a big change in me, and it makes me so happy to know that. I look forward to many more performances, and I cannot wait to see where life takes me in this program.


Want to submit your story to the My CYT Story Competition? Deadline is April 1.

DISCLAIMER: Though all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective Branch’s leadership for judging as part of the My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Branch Winner.